Dan Swinney, Executive Chef at Lidia’s Restaurant in Kansas City traces his love for good cooking to the time he spent on his grandparents’ dairy farm in southern Missouri. There he learned the importance of eating seasonally, growing locally and how to utilize everything available on the farm. Nothing ever went to waste. Dan built upon these values at the beginning of his professional career in 1985 when he received an apprenticeship through the American Culinary Federation. Working with Hyatt hotels, he earned an AOS in Culinary Arts and completed a 6,000 hour chef apprenticeship. He was the Executive Chef at The Classic Cup Westport and at Zola restaurant where he earned high marks from the local press for his honest and innovative cuisine.
In 1998 when Lidia and Joseph Bastianich announced plans to open a restaurant in Kansas City–their first outside of New York —Dan was chosen as Chef de Cuisine and was involved in all aspects of the planning and opening of this 165-seat showcase. In 2000 he was promoted to the position of Executive Chef. Now in his 14th year, the restaurant remains one of the top culinary destinations in the Midwest, regularly serving 2500 guests per week. Working with Lidia has provided Dan the opportunity to focus on studying what he loves most, Italian culture and cuisine. Numerous research trips to Italy over the last decade have allowed Dan to examine the nuances of many of Italy’s regions, and to experience first hand the true flavors of Italy.
Dan lives in the Brookside area of Kansas City with his wife Joey and their five children.